Rhapsodize Audio Presents
War Poems of Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
Performed by Winston Tharp
Introduction by Winston Tharp
My lifelong infatuation with the poetry of Wilfred Owen began almost 46 years ago. While stationed at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, I first heard a soundtrack recording of The Days of Wilfred Owen. This 1964 film showcased a selection of the poet’s war poems illustrated by the watercolors of Robert Andrew Park and performed by the great Welsh actor Richard Burton. For me, the place and time resonated in several ways with Owen's poetry. Bunkers of the Maginot line were close by, the Bitburg area had seen fierce fighting 22 years earlier when Patton's tanks came through on their rush across Europe, and I had just heard that my best friend in high school had been killed in Viet Nam.
Here's part of Owen’s preface as recorded at Bitburg by a very young Sgt. Winston Tharp in 1967, followed by my contemporary performance of the war poems, in tribute to both Wilfred Owen and Richard Burton.
This...is not about heroes. English Poetry is not yet fit to speak of them.
Nor is it about deeds or lands, nor anything about glory, honour, dominion or power, except War.
Above all, this book is not concerned with Poetry. The subject of it is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.
Note: The first file contains the introduction and all the poem files that follow, so that one may listen continuously. The individual files follow in order.
Rhapsodize is a classic poetry performance initiative dedicated to engaging in, encouraging, instructing, guiding, and facilitating rhapsodizing, that is, performing classic poetry. Rhapsodize represents a community and resources for solo and/or group performance and production of live, audio, and video rhapsodies, or programs, concerts, recitals, and vocal collections of classic poetry in the public domain.